Being a goalkeeper is challenging, no question about it. You train in small isolated groups, have holes picked in every performance you put in and more than often than not, pay for any slip-ups by losing your place in the side.
Since Richard ‘Olele’ Kingson hung up his gloves in 2017 after two decades of service to the nation, Ghana has been hit by a goalkeeping crisis for close to six years and Joojo Wollacott could just be the ‘saviour’ we have been waiting for to fill the void left by the enigmatic Kingson.
Ghana has been doing lots of try-error and gambling with the goalkeeping role for more than half a decade and running.
Adam Larson Kwarasey, who had a strong debut in September 2011 brought our hopes back until controversies pushed him away from the Black stars.
Enter Fatawu Dauda, Razak Braimah, Razak Abalora but none could make the position their own for a long period vis-a-vis Richard Kingson. Currently, we have Richard Ofori as substantive number one goalkeeper who is ruled out as a result of injury.
Born on September 8, 1996, Joojo Wollacott, former Bristol City FC goalkeeper is the new face of Ghana Black stars goalkeeping role.
The young shot-stopper who is currently with EFL League Two side Swindon Town FC received his first national team call up in October 2021 for 2022 world cup qualifiers doubleheader against Zimbabwe.
‘’ Who? ‘’
That was the question on the lips of most fans when Wollacott earned his first Ghana call-up.
Those initial worries have been put to bed today though with the stopper putting in impressive displays since making his Black Stars debut. Milovan Rajevac was happy to throw the goalkeeper straight into the heat of the battle in a massive game on his debut, and more than he looked the part.
Confident and assured under the high ball, the 25-year-old also proved himself to be a physical presence with some superb saves and timely decisions in Ghana’s 3-1 win over Zimbabwe.
Coach Milovan Rajevac explained ”I watched many videos of him and the decision was made to include him in the squad”
It is his agility, his reading of the game, and his supreme attention to detail that marks out Joojo Wollacott out as one of the best goalkeepers to man the post of the Black Stars since Kingson.
A man who marshalls a defence that has the utmost confidence in his ability to bail them out of any tight spot, there is an impregnable yet languid nature to Wollacott’s goalkeeping that speaks of a natural-born talent to stop the ball from entering his net. He is utterly unique.
Recent opinions may have changed but the finger-pointing is never far away. Wollacott, believed by the Ghanaian football populace as the next top goalkeeper Ghana is about to be unleashed to the world.
By: Courage Kwame Dzide